Political Apptivism: Constructing Israeli-Palestinian Political Experience Through App Use
There has been exponential growth in the use of mobile political apps. Focusing on iNakba, a GPS-based application that addresses the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, this study asks, How do political activists negotiate their use of apps to promote their agendas? We based our study on interviews with activists, users, and appmasters, alongside participant observation and review of supportive documents. Drawing on Walter Benjamin’s discussions about authentic-mediated experiences and the “aura” of objects, we highlighted three major themes: place versus online space (user’s distinct sense of place to complement their online-app space experience), interactivity (negotiation of the relationship between the app and its users), and reaching through the layers (users’ rediscovering the “authentic” landscape). Through Benjamin’s framework, we see how apps’ technological affordances are used to construct a distinct political experience and to support amplification of appmasters’ status as providers of authentic knowledge for social movements.